The Role that Mental Health Experts Can Play In Encouraging Sustainable Living

By path2positive

As Climate for Health leader and well-known psychiatrist Lise Van Susteren recently explained in our leader spotlight, climate change is having significant adverse impacts on people's psyches. A 2012 report from the U.S. National Wildlife Federation, for which Van Susteren wrote the introduction, estimates that cases of mental and social disorders will dramatically increase as the signs of climate change become more regular, and as more people are personally affected. "Our fast-changing climate has long been identified as a threat to physical health, but more psychologists are warning that the mental health impacts and the economic toll they take are real, likely to spread and need closer study," writes Tyler Hamilton in his article below. The American Psychological Association, one of Climate for Health's partner organizations, believes that climate and environmental psychologists are playing a larger role in the workforce and can take proactive measures to help people live more sustainable lives.


Climate Change is Wreaking Havoc On Our Mental Health, Experts Say

Toronto Star

By Tyler Hamilton I February 28, 2016

As a provincial coroner and past palliative care physician, Dr. David Ouchterlony has seen suffering and death up close, experiences that have occasionally led to brief moments of sadness. But Ouchterlony describes such emotions as “trivial” compared to the dread he feels when thoughts about climate change linger, as they often do. He worries almost obsessively about a future he won’t see. How will younger generations be affected? Why are we failing to act on the threat?

“I was completely blind to it, and then five years ago it just hit me,” Ouchterlony, 74, said. “I went through this stage of losing sleep, thinking about my grandchild, wondering what I could do.”

He described the feeling as an “absence of hope” characterized by despair and, at times, exhausting guilt. Some researchers have called it a “pre-traumatic” stress disorder that, in some, is feeding anxiety and depressive thoughts.

Ouchterlony isn’t alone. Signs of mental distress related to climate change have appeared in vulnerable populations, from drought-stricken prairie farmers to isolated aboriginal communities and the scientists who crunch climate data.

Read more

 

 

 

Subscribe

Stay connected and get updates from Climate for Health.

Subscribe

You May Also Like

April 7, 2021

Climate for Health joined over 100 health professionals and organizations to support a set of recommendations to build climate, health, and equity across the Department...

Read More

April 5, 2021

Earth Day has become synonymous with spring. Spring flowers, spring cleaning, spring faith traditions like Passover and Easter, and now Earth Day – a celebration...

Read More

April 1, 2021

Coming out of a year of multiple crises and a decisive election, 2021 is our moment to forge a path forward to a stable climate starting with...

Read More
climate-for-helth-logo-white

 

Climate for Health is a program of ecoAmerica

 

© ecoAmerica 2006 – 2021 The contents of this website may be shared and used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 International License.